Mass., Tenn. Could Be Examples for San Francisco
San Francisco leaders should consider a Massachusetts health insurance law and a Tennessee program as they work to address the issue of the uninsured, Bay Area Economic Forum Chair Lenny Mendonca and Sean Randolph, president and CEO of the forum, write in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece (Mendonca/Randolph, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21).
The Massachusetts law includes mandates for individuals to have health insurance and for most businesses to offer it to their workers or face penalties (California Healthline, 4/20). According to Mendonca and Randolph, the Massachusetts plan "is not unlike" legislation introduced last year by Assembly members Joe Nation (D-San Rafael) and Keith Stuart Richman (R-Granada Hills).
The Tennessee plan -- a "partnership of the state and business, under which individuals will contribute an average of $50 a month" to be matched by the state and employers -- could be "even more relevant" in San Francisco, Mendonca and Randolph write.
Noting that the "challenge of affordable health care isn't unique to San Francisco," Mendonca and Randolph recommend that the Universal Healthcare Council -- a group of civic leaders Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) appointed to examine strategies to address the uninsured -- consider the Tennessee and Massachusetts plans.
"Massachusetts and Tennessee have found creative ways to fund diverse but innovative approaches to expand health care," Mendonca and Randolph write, concluding, "If it can be done ... there, it can also happen here" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21).